What are digital rights?
By Konstantinos Kakavoulis
Digital rights are human rights. More specifically, they are the human rights which provide persons with access to digital means of communication and the chance to use them, as well as access to computers, other electronic devices and communication networks with the respective opportunity to use them. The most significant and most well-known of these communication networks is the Internet, which, as illustrated by its name, constitutes the “network of networks”.
Which are the digital rights?
Digital rights are all the human rights, which are related to the aforementioned activities in the digital age, in which we live in. The most important digital rights, at the moment these lines are written, are the right to privacy, the personal data protection, the freedom of expression, the right to information, the right to property – material and intellectual- the right to judicial review and the prohibition of discrimination. This list is not exhaustive. The technological evolution and the pertinent extension of human activity is likely to create new digital rights.
When were digital rights created?
Digital rights are the expansion of the fundamental human rights, which were already guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in international and European law, but also in the Greek Constitution. The evolution of technology and the entrance in the digital age created a new digital world, which exists in parallel with the real world. The vested rights took a new dimension, in order to regulate the new space of human activity.
Are digital rights protected?
As already mentioned, digital rights constitute the expansion of the vested fundamental human rights. Therefore, they enjoy the same protection with the vested rights. Certainly, the adoption of new legislation is imperative, in order to regulate thoroughly the particularities of the new situation.
Why are digital rights important?
All of us use the Internet and electronic devices on a regular basis: we purchase products and services, we exchange opinions and information, we get informed. It is not exaggerated to state that apart from the real world, we also live and operate in a digital one. As our real self needs to be safeguarded, so does our digital self. In order to be able to safeguard our digital rights, we must firstly get informed on them. We must learn how are personal data are used by corporations, States and other persons. We must learn where our freedom of expression in the Internet begins and where it ends. We must learn how to protect our Internet transactions. We must learn where and when is the surveillance of our actions by cameras permitted and in which cases it is not.